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Sexual orientation as related to romantic orientation

Sexual orientation as related to romantic orientation  

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i'm curious about your experiences with this, so please vote and comment!  i'm not sure how well i phrased the questions and options, though; you'll see why when i list and explain my own answers:

 

1. i've always been sure of my sexual orientation.  i've always identified as completely heterosexual, never questioned it.  even when i experienced squishes or aesthetic attraction toward girls but didn't even know what to call them, i correctly identified the feelings and didn't worry about it.

 

2. no.  i learned about aromanticism and the split attraction model at the same time, and essentially thought 'ok i'm definitely heterosexual, and i'd assumed i was heteroromantic, though not in those words...but could i be aromantic?'  and so it began.

 

3. separate.  i don't see how sexual and romantic attraction have anything to do with each other.  like, not just in my own case, but in general--i don't understand.  (i mean, i don't really understand romantic attraction in the first place, but...)  if i were asked to name my orientation in one word, i wouldn't know what to say, because i have two.  i don't even like when people call me straight, because that implies 'heterosexual and heteroromantic'.  you guys can, though--the rules don't apply to my fellow aros. 😄

 

so yeah, chime in, and feel free to ask more questions! ✌️

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1. I started questioning my sexuality when I was around 14 and I decided on bi when I was 15. There have been some periods where I thought I was lesbian but looking back on that now I think that that probably had to do with being aro. 

2. Im not sure whether discovering my sexuality had much to do with identifying as arospec but I did join the lgbtqa+ community because of my sexuality, which then led to the discovery of the term aromantic. But I realized I was aro 4 years after my sexuality so I'm not sure how closely related it is. 

3. Completely seperate for me. I don't really see how I would connect the two. 

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@aro_elise yeah, my answers are the same as your OP, pretty much word-for-word.

 

2 hours ago, aro_elise said:

i don't even like when people call me straight, because that implies 'heterosexual and heteroromantic'

 

Yeah, that's an interesting one! I did always think of myself as 'straight', but now I'm not so sure how well that works as a shorthand. One could argue that a homo-romantic gay person's experience of relationships is closer to traditional heterosexual (amato)normative relationship standards than an aromantic heterosexual person's. So, to say that only the former belongs under a broder non-straight/'queer' identities umberella doesn't quite seem right... So I guess I'd think of myself as 'straight-ish' or 'straight, but...' now, hah.

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i call myself straight, like in my head, but i'm hesitant to say it to others.  my friend--the only person irl who has my permission to call me straight--has called me "straight but not" as well as "queer".  she's gay btw.  i'd be interested to hear whether any aros have the same problems with terms like gay, lesbian, bi, or pan.

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1. I hadn't a real period of questioning, but sometimes I tried to felt sexual attraction to determine if I was gay, straight, bi... and failed miserably. When I discovered what asexuality is, it was an evidence.

 

2. Learning about my asexuality led me to discover what romantic attraction was. After a period of denial, I realized I was aro too.

 

3. I think about it as separate,  even if I am both ace and aro. As thought about these attractions as separate in general. 

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1 : I went through multiple periods of questioning/label changes.  I discovered my aromantism first. I was sure. Then i was questionning. Bi ? Pan ? ace ? Then i settled with "ace". It was good enough back then. Then i was thinking about grey-ace maybe. Now i don't even label it lol , i am just aro. With a blury sexual attraction.

 

2 : Unsure . Good question. Not sure i can answer. 

 

3 : Related for another reason . Well… i feel like "aro" is enough, so… It has something to do with me not using the sam i guess ? ^^ I mean, i feel like if i was alloromantic, it would be different (captain obvious, but i am speaking about my sexual orientation. Now i don't have one, no label. But if i was not aro? Hmm... )

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I've been through many labels before I realised I was lesbian (homosexual) for sure at 15, but I was questioning on and off for 2 years or so. I discovered it later because I didn't develop sexual attraction until I was 14, nearly 15 - definitely 15, before then I labelled myself as Asexual and I knew it was a temporary label (I have video evidence of me admitting this).

 

I just assumed that I loved girls romantically as well because I didn't know that romantic attraction could be separated from each other, or that Aromanticism existed (I didn't believe in Asexuality for a while bc I thought they were all just young kids who hadn't developed yet like myself). I learned about romantic orientations at some point last year, but it wasn't until I started looking into Aromanticism in the beginning of this year (info about it usually comes alongside info about Asexuality so it was probably something like that) that I began questioning my romantic orientation. I am still unsure about it.

 

I do see my lesbianism and possible aromanticism as separate things since they're nothing like. However, saying that, I do desire companionship, some affection and an emotional connection with girls only, I only ever have alterous, sensual and sexual attraction to girls, so in a few ways my lesbianism is always quite present. 

On 9/22/2019 at 11:42 AM, aro_elise said:

i call myself straight, like in my head, but i'm hesitant to say it to others.  my friend--the only person irl who has my permission to call me straight--has called me "straight but not" as well as "queer".  she's gay btw.  i'd be interested to hear whether any aros have the same problems with terms like gay, lesbian, bi, or pan.

I tend to feel that I am not 100 percent lesbian because I don't really experience romantic attraction to girls like other lesbians do; I'm not out to many people (only 2), so idk what people would think about it. I mean being Aromantic is Queer by definition, since it's very different from the norm.

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On 9/25/2019 at 9:44 AM, nonmerci said:

I think about it as separate,  even if I am both ace and aro. As thought about these attractions as separate in general. 

interesting, i wondered whether there would be anyone like that.

 

you know, i was in this club in high school called spectrum, like a gsa.  one time, asexuality and aromanticism came up--i wasn't out, i believe this was during my denial period--and the club leader (student teacher, straight) asked the difference.  i tried to explain, talking about the different types of attraction, and she just said "to me it's the same."  and i was thinking '???'

Edited by aro_elise

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I think that for MOST people (allo) they are the same, and indistinguishable. At least that's how it's displayed in the media... At least that's my impression, and why it took me so long to figure out that I'm aro... 

I accidentally really insulted an ace couple once because of this... made me re-evaluate...

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On 9/26/2019 at 7:26 AM, aro_elise said:

interesting, i wondered whether there would be anyone like that.

Well, I discovered asexuality first and it was an evidence for me. But aromanticism wasn't, and I was in denial. Then I identify myself as greyro (now I'm questioning if aro would fit me better), but I never did for asexuality because it was an evidence for me that I never felt sexual attraction in my whole life.

 

Also, I don't really care of my sexual attraction, I don't see it as a huge part of my identity. But aromanticism is more important in my life. Probably because I always saw sex as a weird sport I don't want to practice, but I saw romance as a way of life (no offense to allosexual, I suppose you don't see things like that). I think that I would see sex differently if I was aro allo too. So it must leads me to view this as separate.

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Once I realised that all my previous experiences in relationships were related to me being aro and not necessarily ace made a big difference. I was putting down my repulsion to kissy kissy romantic belonging to being ace but now put it down more accurately to aro. Now as for my sexual attraction I know I'm at least demisexual, though it doesn't fully fit. I know it's definitely not obvious and I don't see anyone as "hot or sexy" and definitely not as others describe, but there's a definite "physiological interest" so not sure whether that's heterosexual or grey-heterosexual. I usually just say greysexual. It also doesn't help matters that I'm strongly panaesthetic, so much so that I actually thought I was gay at first because I have a particular attraction to the beauty of women (though don't want to sleep with or date them being realistic).

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I do relate to the difficulties with general labels also as none seemed to fit and just leads to people misunderstanding, though I'm using queer more and more. They are definitely different, though I can see why those with matching attractions can't distinguish, for example a heteroaesthetic heteromantic heterosexual hetero through and through will probably not see any difference for example, and the same for generally bi, gay or anything else, and I understand that. I have a much more identity with my aromantism and panaesthetic aspects though because they affect my day to day life most, which I think is the question that is relevant for how strongly someone identifies - it's relevant to how it affects day to day life and how different it is from the social "norm"

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On 9/27/2019 at 4:06 AM, nonmerci said:

Also, I don't really care of my sexual attraction, I don't see it as a huge part of my identity. But aromanticism is more important in my life. Probably because I always saw sex as a weird sport I don't want to practice, but I saw romance as a way of life (no offense to allosexual, I suppose you don't see things like that). I think that I would see sex differently if I was aro allo too. So it must leads me to view this as separate.

i see what you mean, actually, i don't consider my sexuality that important either.  being interested in guys is kind of like being moderately interested in other things, like, not my favourite things, but things i like.  your sport analogy works--for example, i like skiing but i don't do it often; it's not a big part of my life, but when i see a nice mountain i think i'd like to ski there.

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1) Other; My sister introduced me to the term 'asexual'. I thought I was "straight by default" beforehand, though.

2) Yes; discovering my sexual orientation helped me discover my romantic orientation.

3) I see them as related because they're similar.

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1. How did you come to identify your sexual orientation?

I went through many periods of questioning lmao. To put it simply for a while there I thought it was 'all' when in fact it was 'none' and so eventually I realised I was ace. And then I realised being ace didn't matter to me at all so I stopped identifying as such. And then I began feeling sexually attracted to people and decided queer was the right term for the job haha

 

2. Do you think your discovery of your sexual orientation is/was related to your identifying as aro-spec?

I'd say it was the other way around. I identified as ace long before I realised I was aro. The thing for me is that I wanted to feel sexual attraction (score one for me!!) and couldn't care less about romance. So I wasn't thinking about romance enough to realise I felt nothing for it. It wasn't until I was like,,, 'so I'm panro ace what does a relationship look like for me?' And the answer was a hard pass that I realised maybe I was confusing 'all' with 'none' again. I was firmly aro when I began feeling sexual attraction and actually that seemed to be separate from my aro identity. At least the journey I went on to understand what I was feeling did, because it was all these brand new emotions and thoughts that I wanted to ferret out. Only later did I start to look at them through an aromantic lens. Nothing changed in my life with the fluctuation and I think that's the kicker. 

 

3. What about currently? Do you feel that your sexual and romantic orientations are related (like two parts of one identity) or separate (like two identities)?

My identities, aromatic and queer, are absolutely related. They're the same set a feeling that I label separately to highlight different areas of nuance. Despite how messy the history of my identity is, the reality of it now is very settled and simple. I love my identity and the journey was well worth it.

 

--

Edited immediately after posting bc the font was SHOCKINGLY large lmao

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I'm an out lesbian but only recently discovered my aromantic identity. I think it took me so long (6 years since figuring out I was gay) to work out the aromanticism because I knew I liked girls and not guys but somehow it wasn't quite right. Now if I were to have a QPR I would only want one with a female so in some ways they are related but I don't really see it that way because although both affect any relationships I would have, they don't really affect each other. I see them as two separate things that work together to shape my identity.

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1. In 7th grade I start questioning my sexuality. I went through thinking I'm pansexual then unsure of my sexuality throughout my journey. Then few months ago I realized I was bisexual when I find this girl the most attractive human-being on earth. 

2. Unsure. While I was questioning my sexuality, I keep hearing aromantic a lot and I don't know what it meant in that time. Until I decided why not search it up what aromantic means when I thought I was all done questioning my sexuality. When I read the definition of what aromantic means. That's when I went back to questioning board and next day, I realize I'm aromantic. So in some way kinda, but also not really sure either. 

3. Seperate. My experience with sexual attraction and romantic attraction our no where near related in any shape of form.

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1. I went through multiple periods of questioning. For a long time I was straight by default, then a friend came out as gay, so I started thinking about my orientation. I could not decide between bisexual and asexual. In the end I decided I was bisexual, then I questioned again and thought I was biromantic demisexual, then greysexual, then bi asexual. Only then, I started questioning being aromantic. It was a long process.

 

2. Discovering I am ace helped me discover I am aro. I think I first had to accept that it is okay to not experience sexual attraction, before I could accept it is okay to not experience any attraction at all. Even if I already questioned being aro a little bit before discovering I am ace, I was not confident to explore it until after I knew I am ace. Also, the fact that the communities are so linked helped.

 

3. I chose "related" but I actually think they are... can I say "separate but related"? They are two different things, but they mix so much that I find it hard to cut them apart from each other. Like two different sides of one coin. It was also the fact that they are related, that helped me realise I am aroace and not bi ace, because I could not tell where I stopped being biromantic and started being asexual. I could not draw a clear line and say "I have desire for these things but not for these things". In the end, I realised I had desire for none of the things. To me, it all feels like a lack of attraction but it manifests in different ways, if that makes sense.

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1. I first thought I was straight and weird, because everybody was straight. Then I heard about the fact, that there were people who didn't like the other gender and decided to identify as homosexual, because I wasn't interested in the other gender, ignoring the fact, that I also wasn't interested in my own gender. For some time I then thought that I was bi, but then I discovered asexuality and the gender-spectrum and aromantism.

 

2. I heard about the fact that there are several ways to classify attraction on AVEN, so I started identifying as Asexual homoromantic, because I didn't want to be aromantic. Only later on I  found myself accepting the label and in time coming to love it.

 

3. For me, my Aromantism and Asexuality are closely related, because they are a package of "not interested". But I do want a QPR one day, so that's seperated from my Aro/Ace-ness.

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1. I went through two periods of questioning and four label changes. First, I thought I was pansexual then I settled on bisexual, just cause the label felt more comfortable and I identified as that for a while until I realized I wasn't attracted to men. After that, I called myself a lesbian until recently, when I basically came out to myself as non-binary and I've just been calling myself gay.

2. I was rather comfortable with my sexual orientation (even if I hadn't fully switched to the label I'm using now) when I found out I was aromantic. Now that I think about it, it was my sexual orientation that led me to discover my romantic one. I have dated guys in the past, guys that I didn't really love or even like, and when I realized I wasn't attracted to men at all, I realized that I'd faked that love. Then I thought about it more and I realized that, even though I was sexual with the girl I dated in the past, I had done the same thing with her as I did to all the guys I've dated. That led me to the discover I was aromantic.

3. I consider my sexual and romantic orientation separate because they are two separate parts of me.  There's the part of me that wants to have sex with woman and another part of me that doesn't want a relationship or even feel romantically attracted to anyone. They coexist but they are still distinct.

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1. I went through three periods of questioning, first in 2015 when I wondered if I was ace-spec. At the time I concluded that I was allosexual. Then, the next year, I developed feelings for a female friend and was bicurious before deciding I was bisexual. Last year or so, I began to question once again if I might be demisexual....this time the label felt like it fit.

2. Somewhat related, as I decided I was aro-spec while looking back on what little attraction I had experienced.

3. I think my demisexuality is related to my demiromanticism, as for me I can't see sex without romance, and if I'm uninterested in romance then I am uninterested in sex. But, they are two separate identities to me.

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1. I went through a period that I didn't know if I was pan or bi, since I questioned if I would really go out with anyone I met. Then, a couple of years later, I knew I was 100% pan, since I could picture myself with basically anyone, tho I had a preference so I knew I wasn't omnisexual.

2. I do not really think my sexual orientation plays a role in my romantic orientation. I see myself as pansexual and aromantic, both are separate. I see my sexuality as if I would sleep with someone (in this case with anyone regardless of sex or gender identity) and my romantic orientation as how I feel doing romance coded activities (in this case I don't feel butterflies, nor any arousal or need to do romantic things).

3. Both are different identities of myself, they overlap very little, and I feel that I can use them as separate terms and still convey my wholeness to some extent.

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1. I went through one questioning period, if you can call about 10 years a single questioning period. It was sort of a not very intense question moment followed up by lots of ignore with a "who cares? i'm me" attitude. I did learn about asexual when I was 16-18 years old but heard people's experiences and didn't click with it so I ignored it. the labels I use now are the only ones I have ever really used, previously I just let people assume default straight but I was never directly asked what labels I used (assuming my memory is not too degraded by age...)

2. 10 or so years later I decided to look at asexual again since it had been a good 4 years since I had anything resembling sexual attraction. I found aromantic fairly immediately when reading the AVEN forums and finally figured it out. Took me a few more weeks to find a sexuality label I felt connected to though. So questioning my sexual orientation literally made me stumble across SAM, Romantic orientations and aromanticism. 

3. Aromanticism is like air to me. It is always present. I cannot conceive of a existence without it being this way. I feel it as a constant presence rather than of a 'complete lack of' (romantic attraction). My sexuality is like a mythical creature that pops in and out of existence randomly. It is there or it is not, yet when it is there it still breathes air (aromanticism) so they are linked yet different.  

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On 9/27/2019 at 10:06 AM, nonmerci said:

Also, I don't really care of my sexual attraction, I don't see it as a huge part of my identity. But aromanticism is more important in my life. Probably because I always saw sex as a weird sport I don't want to practice, but I saw romance as a way of life (no offense to allosexual, I suppose you don't see things like that). I think that I would see sex differently if I was aro allo too. So it must leads me to view this as separate.

I think it needs four ingredients for allosexuals to regard sex as just some kind of sport (it's never strictly speaking like a sport, it needs a bit more responsibility than... badminton):

  1. they see it as disconnected from genuinely loving another person
  2. their sex drive isn't high or persistent
  3. they have no interest in something beyond vanilla activities (otherwise it can become very complex)
  4. it's not something their sense of self-worth depends on

So (1) is a typical aromantic thing. (2) and (3) are likely unrelated to aromanticism. And (4) ... I don't know.

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I identified as bi since the '90s. 

I mistook "you don't treat me like absolute garbage and are nice looking" for romantic and sexual attraction.

I got into relationships (4 total in my life) because of amatonormative brainwashing -- "nOt BeInG mArRiEd MeAnS bEiNg CoMpLeTeLy AlOnE aNd Is A fAtE wOrSe ThAn DeAtH" and they were always out to make me a free roof over their heads, free meal ticket, free punching bag, and Asian rape doll (yes, there are people who chase Asian men, too. Look at any fandom for Japanese anything in English, crawling with them) 

The last one I got into I'd been talking with him about his feelings as a newly out gay man. And I learned what sexual attraction was. And that I never felt it. 

I had known someone on line who was a sex-repulsed ace for a few years. I'd thought ace was sex repulsion back then. I fully supported them (as much as someone can while not quite getting the meaning of the words) ... without knowing I was a lot like them. 

This led me to hearing the term aro, but didn't lead to discovery until last month. It just meant freak outs and soul searching I felt way too old for www

What confused me about aromantic was misreading my own feelings. I actually, especially compared to the average allo who discards friends to ride off into the sunset with someone they met three hours ago, but even that notwithstanding, I can develop very *very* intense platonic feelings. 

Also, toxic masculinity -- I thought it was "just a guy thing to not like the mushy stuff." I definitely at this point (last year) questioned whether that was valid or toxic garbage. Apparently, it was romance repulsion. 

I'm also actually cupiosexual, which I discovered "cupio-" from an aro terminology list. and on top of that, would strongly prefer another man at this point. That I'm really good friends and do cool stuff and talk all night with. And there's room for sex and stuff if we feel like it. And we live close by but never together because I've lost a few places to live that way. 

So all those things kept me from identifying the lack of attraction for...well, "men only" is new, but nothing else is, so a good 22 years at least. 

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